Choosing housing for your freshman year can be very confusing with all the different choices offered. I remember reading about all the different dorms and the type of floors - all-female floor, or perhaps a study abroad floor or a double or a quad... Well, one option to consider is special interest housing (SIH). SIHs are for students who want to live around others who share common interests. There are seven Special Interest Houses: Art, Computer Science, Engineering, General Science, International, Photo, and Unity.
Being an international student and someone with passion for travelling and cultures, International house piqued my interest. In my freshman year I applied and got accepted to live at International house (I-house). I-House is a SIH based in residence hall Eugene Colby C. The focus of I-house is to help international students adjust into their new environment, while also giving an opportunity to local students to get exposed to cultural diversity. It is a place for international and domestic students to come together for cultural discussion, learning, food and events.
One way I-house celebrates its diverse mix of culture is through food! Members have exclusive access to a full-sized, fully equipped kitchen (the only SIH to have one). The kitchen contains numerous cooking supplies (pots, pans, utensils and cutlery), refrigerator, oven, stovetop, microwave and rice cooker along with various spices and sauces. Even though I do not know how to cook much, cooking Irish soda bread with friends for St. Patricks Day was great fun.
2. Large Lounge (in addition to the regular floor kitchenette and lounge)
Next to the kitchen is a full lounge area. It has couches, a ping pong table (we often have fun tournaments), projector and sound system for meetings, presentations and movies (movie nights every Friday). (Side note: we also happen to have a record player with a collection of vinyls!)
3. Summer Storage
As an international student, I had to get a storage unit for the summer to keep all my belongings. Storage units are pretty expensive especially if you hire one on your own and then there is the added worry and work for transporting your things to the unit and getting them back. The I-house e-board organizes summer storage for the floor, including hiring a storage unit, transporting the things to and back from the unit. This was extremely helpful and all I as a member had to worry about was getting my things packed in time, ready to be put in the storage. (You do have to pay, but since the cost gets splits amongst all members it comes out to be very reasonable.)
Every Semester, International House holds few events to bring all the members together and have fun.
My favourite is the International House Dinner that happens once EVERY semester. All members come together to eat home cooked food which we prepare in our own kitchen. The food cooked is generally, but not always, from a member's culture of origin. The event often takes place on campus in a banquet area, but based on members' preferences, the dinner may also take place off campus, at a restaurant of the floor's choosing. We did both this year! Along with on-floor and off-floor members, a lot of alumni also came to this dinner and it was a great way to meet new people and network. We also went to the Long Acre Farms for apple picking in early October and cooked beautiful apple pies with the apples we collected. Another fun trip was the Darien Lakes Amusement Park trip.
Every couple of weeks there are culture nights held where members of the floor teach each other about their cultures - the food, history and traditions. During the presentation, food from the chosen culture is served and sometimes even movies are shown. Past culture nights this year have included Swiss Culture Night and Chinese Culture Night.
Other than these events, we frequent the Rochester area, having a friendly competition of laser tag or bowling, or enjoying skiing during the winters!
Hyun prepares a meal for I-house members attending the South-Korean culture night
I-HOUSE DINNER FALL 2016
DARIEN LAKE 2016
While I was an on-floor member of I-house, one can also become an off-floor member. On floor members have to pay around $100 to get access to all the events and kitchen. While the majority of people living on floor tend to be members of I-house, this is not a requirement and is not uncommon.
For those interested, incoming students can apply through their housing application. In order to live as an on-floor member, you are required to fill out a couple of essay questions. However, if you're not interested in living on-floor but wish to be part of the I-house community or join later in the year, just contact I-house, no essay required!
CONNECT WITH I-HOUSE!
If your ever wanted to travel the world, learn about new cultures, cuisines, you should consider applying to International House!
DARIEN LAKE 2016